A SCOTTISH court and legal dignitaries are preparing to visit an island crime scene to pay tribute to the law breakers whose actions led to a dedicated court to deal with crofters' rights and disputes between landlords and tenants.

Two judges and a sheriff will travel to Skye to mark the centenary of the Scottish Land Court, which can trace its roots to the Battle of the Braes 130 years ago and continues to adjudicate on a range of disputes.

These include impresario Sir Cameron Mackintosh's fight with the crofter Donald Cameron over land beside Loch Morar.

They will acknowledge that the court "stands on the shoulders" of the people of Braes who in 1882 resisted an attempt by their landlord Lord MacDonald to evict 12 crofters as part of a dispute over the grazing of the hill Ben Lee above Braes, which was due to be taken over by a farmer.

They refused to pay their rents and a crowd of 150 assaulted the sheriff's officer and burned the eviction notices he brought. However, he returned almost two weeks later with 50 policemen sent from Glasgow to arrest five of the crofters.

As they left Braes the party was attacked by a large crowd of men, women and children carrying sticks and throwing stones. The Battle of the Braes was the start of the "Crofters' War" of 1882-88, a wave of agitation across the Highlands demanding land reform.

In May 1883 Gladstone's government announced the establishment of the Napier Commission, "to inquire into the condition of the crofters and cottars in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland".

The Napier Commission's report led to legislation which granted crofters security of tenure and fair rents amongst other rights. It was the foundation of the crofting system that survives to this day.

To mark its centenary the court's chairman Lord McGhie, a former QC, will lead a party past the church where the first witness to the Napier Commission, Angus Stewart, gave evidence to a cairn.

Lord McGhie said the court enthusiastically took up the suggestion of a trip to mark the Battle of the Braes in 1882.

He said: "Of course, the court is a court of law. Our task it to apply the law fairly and judicially. It is the law itself which provides the protection for both crofters and landlords."

Joining Saturday's events will be High Court judge Lord Bracadale, who was born on Skye, and Lord McGhie's deputy Sheriff Roddy John Macleod, a native of the island.